It starts like this. Your mother passed on her writing genes, so one frosty morning, sick of your tedious, underpaid, under-valued day job, you decide you’re going to be a writer. “Sod it, I can do better than 50 shades of whatever.” Those writey genes kick in and you sit at your desk, and with a grand push, pop out a fair piece of work. Voila – you did it – you’re a writer. You think the hard part is done. Well, bad news my friend. The hard part lies ahead.
You write to a zillion agents to represent your book. Like evil Disney queens they scoff at your feeble masterpiece, and shoo you away with form reject letters that would subdue the spirit of Attila the Hun. Humbled by your own unworthiness, you wander chat rooms and other media sites, seeking truth and wisdom. Before you know it, you’re blogging, giving away freebies, twittering your ass off and through contacts, you eventually find a venue for your book.
At first you sell a few copies to friends, but then the book stalls and nada. Nothing. Tiddly squat. So you ramp up the blogging and twittering until suddenly, these giants take over and you’re at it twenty-four hours a day. And still the book doesn’t sell.
What do you do? Pay a fortune in marketing? Buy a billboard and stalk the shopping malls? (Good luck with that.)
Well, this is me, right now, and all roads of wisdom seem to point in the same direction. The best way to promote your book is to simply write another one. Make a name for yourself. One book will help sell another. Then write another. And get reviews. Good ones. Genuine reviews sell books more than you know. For obvious reasons many readers shy away from an un-reviewed book.
The reality is, this business is not the sparkly, overnight success story we dreamed of, and like good sex, the hard truth is that these things take time. Overnight successes are rare, and what we often see as an overnight success probably took that poor bugger years to achieve.
Trust me, I’m not saying don’t blog and don’t twitter, networking is super important and the social media tools are an invaluable asset. I have made some wonderful friends and contacts through these channels and my knowledge of the business grows because of them. I salute you guys. But do exercise judgement. Balance is everything in all things on this sparkly earth.
So for heaven’s sake – set aside time in your daily doings to write. That was your dream wasn’t it? Don’t put it to bed. Show the world your stuff. Nothing will ever promote you more than your own words in your own special voice. Remember to use it.
(PS – yes, I see the irony in writing a blog about this ;))